Chapter 8 : Chapter VIII: Drinks
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Hermione opened the door to her flat and let Draco inside, closing the door behind herself. She took his coat and hung it in the front closet with hers. "Take a seat anywhere," she said. "What would you like to drink? I have some firewhiskey, butterbeer, and some elf-made wine."
"How about a shot of firewhiskey, and some wine?" Draco replied. He looked around her flat as she went to get their drinks. It was small but cosy. There was a comfy looking recliner and an even comfier looking sofa. He took a seat on the sofa as Hermione returned with a bottle of firewhiskey and a bottle of wine. Two shot glasses and two wine glasses floated behind her and set themselves on the coffee table in front of her as she sat down next to Draco.
She poured two shots and handed one to Draco, downing her own quickly. She never cared much for drinking, but she still had an amazing alcohol tolerance when it came to firewhiskey. Draco took his shot and set the glass down and Hermione refilled them. Draco took another shot and looked at Hermione. She really did look amazing in the dress she was wearing. It fit her perfectly, hugging her curves in all the right places.
"How do you keep it together?" he asked. "After Astoria died, all I could do was sit and look at her picture. I couldn't do anything or see anyone without thinking about her. How do you face your life without him?"
Hermione and Draco each took a third shot before she spoke. "My children," she said so quietly he could just barely hear her. "If it weren't for Rose and Hugo, I wouldn't be able to make it through the day, but I do... for them. I put on a brave face, but..." she trailed off and looked at her hands, tears forming in her eyes.
"But what?" Draco asked.
"Can you keep a secret?" she asked.
"Please, I'm a Malfoy. Secrets are what I was raised with," he replied.
"I can't sleep at night. When I do sleep its because I cry myself to sleep. I keep looking at pictures of him, because I'm afraid I'll forget what he looks like." The tears were rolling feeling down her cheeks freely now. Draco pulled a silk handkerchief from his pocket and handed it to her. She thanked him as she dried her eyes. She pulled the handkerchief away and laughed.
"What's so funny?" Draco asked, confused.
"The first time I cry in front of someone since Ronald's funeral, and its in front of you. I finally show weakness and its in front of a Malfoy." She continued to laugh as she wiped the rest of the tears away, ruining her makeup in the process. She excused herself to wash the rest of her makeup off. She decided to change into something more comfortable so she slipped off her dress and heels and put on a pair of sweatpants and an oversized jumper. She let her hair down, walked back into the living room, and sat back down next to Draco and they each took two more shots, finishing the bottle. Draco made the bottle and shot glasses vanish and opened the bottle of wine.
"Why are you here, Malfoy?" Hermione asked, taking a sip of wine.
"Well, you invited me, of course," he said with a smirk. Hermione rolled her eyes at him.
"Why are you on this date?" she asked.
Draco looked at the floor. "To forget," he said. "I can't handle it anymore. All I can think about is Astoria. I agreed to go on this date so that I can forget how much I miss her." Hermione reached over and took his hand. He looked up and locked eyes with her. A tear rolled down his cheek, and she reached up to brush it away. The moment her hand touched his cheek they both froze.
She pulled her hand away and blushed. "Did it work? Did you forget?" she asked. Draco looked in her eyes. He was amazed at how the little flecks of gold in her eyes made them seem warm and comforting. Her brown hair was wavy, but not bushy like it had been when they were younger. He was close enough that he could smell the perfume she was wearing. It was a simple but indescribable smell. It was sweet but not so sweet that it completely overpowered her natural scent. He finished his glass of wine and refilled it as he spoke.
"I did... for a little while," he said, taking a sip of his wine. "Why did you agree to this date?"
Hermione broke eye contact and looked at her wine. She took a large sip. "Padma asked me to try it. She wanted the information for her study, and thought that it might help me deal with Ron's death. I promised I would try and I did."
"And did it work? Are you able to deal with it better now?" Draco was unsure of whether or not he should keep the promise he made to himself about asking her out on a second date. She doesn't seem ready to move on.
'Maybe I should just try to be friends with her instead...' he laughed at himself. 'What in Merlin's name would she want to be friends with a Malfoy for?' Hermione looked at Draco.
"Yes. It did. But I'm not ready to be in a relationship again. Not this soon." She looked at her wine again, and he took her left hand in his. He rubbed small circles in the back of her hand for a few moments before he noticed she was still wearing her wedding ring.
"Granger, I want to help you deal with his death. I want to be someone you can talk to. Just a friend. Could we do that?" he asked. He lifted her chin to make her look at him. "I only want to help. And if you ever want to stop being friends, or if it doesn't help you, then I'll leave you alone."
Hermione nodded. "Okay. Just friends, like Rose and Scorpius. By the way, does he know about tonight?"
"No," Draco said. "I thought it would be better to wait until afterwards to tell him. Do your kids know?"
"Yes, they know. And they are definitely not okay with it. Rose said it was too soon and that I was betraying their father by going on this date." Tears began forming in her eyes again, but she blinked them away.
"Why don't you explain that we're helping each other the same way she and Scorpius have been helping each other? Maybe they'll understand it better."
"Thanks Malfoy," she said smiling.
Draco wrote his address on a sheet if paper. "Here's the address to the Manor. If you need anything, come on over. If I'm not home, there's a huge library so you should be all set until I get there. Thank you for a wonderful evening tonight," he said standing up. She got his coat and walked him to the door. "And Granger, if we're going to be friends, perhaps you should call me Draco, instead of Malfoy. We're not in Hogwarts anymore."
Hermione nodded. "Then you should probably call me Hermione, especially since Granger hasn't been my last name for quite some time." Draco laughed and nodded.
"Good night, Hermione."
"Good night, Draco." Hermione closed the door as he left. She decided to wait to talk to Ginny until the next day. She went to her room and crawled into bed, falling asleep peacefully for the first time in nearly three weeks.
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